When I was lent the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, I suspected I would have a mixed reaction to it. This fantasy novel is not meant to be taken seriously and has been lauded by many as hilarious. Yet it deals with what I feel are serious issues. It certainly made me laugh, yet in poking fun at religious names and events in the Bible.
Ratko Mladic was the key player and commander of the Bosnian Serb forces that tried to eliminate Muslims from large parts of Bosnia. His forces massacred eight thousand Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, and the brutal siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995 resulted in the death of 10,000 people. His capture and trial for war crimes reminds us of the torture, mass rape, arson and genocide that formed part of this ‘ethnic cleansing’. How does one explain these evil crimes against humanity? Are standards of good and evil are only products of local culture, custom, or prejudice and that the very word ‘evil’ is an outmoded concept no longer fit for purpose.